The 2020 Aprilia RS660 is the first of a new family of middleweights. These will be based on a fresh parallel-twin engine, and this is the first bike…
Though clearly a sportsbike and designed with performance in mind, this isn’t a super-serious track tool like the RSV4. Instead, the RS660 is designed to ‘rediscover the pleasure and joy of everyday riding’ and be as much fun on the road as it will be on the occasional trackday.
Its eight-valve, parallel-twin engine is based on the front cylinder bank of the 1078cc V4 from the RSV4 1100. It uses a 270˚ firing interval for V-twin-like sound and feel, like Yamaha’s MT-07, and makes 100bhp. The engine is a load-bearing part of the chassis and has the asymmetric aluminium swingarm hanging from its cases – the aluminium frame has no pivot plates. Forks are adjustable 41mm KYB, and the rear shock has a progressive action despite no linkage. Aprilia claim 169kg dry (11 less than an RSV4 RR).
So far, so sporty. However, Aprilia stress that the RS is a road bike. There’s plenty of steering lock, the seat is described as ‘spacious’, and, unlike the prototype shown this time last year, the clip-on ’bars are mounted above the top yoke. Imagine a riding position closer to Honda’s usable CBR650R than Yamaha’s focused R6.
Aprilia produced the first bike with full ride-by-wire control (2007’s Shiver) and aren’t shy when it comes to electronics. So, the RS660 features a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) and all the RSV4’s fancy bits, including traction and wheelie control, cruise, two-way quickshifter, five riding modes and cornering ABS.
There’s a colour TFT dash with Road and Track display options, and Aprilia’s MIA interface lets it connect to your phone. With a headset you can take calls and use the dash to display direction info from your phone’s navigation.
High-tech features continue with its LED headlights, surrounded by funky daytime running lights that also contain the indicators. The RS has cornering lights, too. Colours are stealthy black or a purple and red scheme inspired by the 1994 RS250 Reggiani Replica.
Aprilia are tight-lipped on price and availability but with its spec the RS660 won’t be cheap – expect at least £12,000. They’ve come clean about another model that’ll use this new twin-cylinder platform, though, by showing the Tuono 660 concept. Given they claim the mechanics are ‘very versatile, adapting well to different types of bike,’ maybe it’ll be joined by a Caponord 660 in 2021 as well.
Tell me about Aprilia’s new parallel-twin 660 motor
Aprilia hadn’t revealed the 660’s engine geometry as we went to press, though one line in the info does say ‘660cc’.
The RSV4 1100 engine it’s based on has an 81 x 52.3mm bore x stroke, making a 539cc twin. So, despite saying it uses V4 dimensions they must have altered bore, stroke, or both.
For 660cc, stroke needs to increase by 11.7mm to 64mm. That’s quite a leap but would make sense of Aprilia’s claim of ‘high torque value’. Parts like the cylinder head could be shared, too.
Stretching displacement with larger pistons is unlikely. The 1100 engine’s 81mm pistons are already sizeable. They’d need to be 89.65mm for 660cc, making the RS ridiculously oversquare with a bore/stroke ratio even greater than Ducati’s loopy V4 R. Hardly likely on a bike for ‘the joy of riding everyday’. Best guess? They’ve altered bore and stroke to engineer the characteristics they want.
Interesting aside: using the bore and stroke from the 999.6cc RSV4 RR engine would make a 499.8cc parallel twin. Maybe we’ll see some A2-legal Aprilia 500s as well…
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Hear the Aprilia RS660 in new teaser video
First reported 31/10/19
Aprilia have released a teaser video for their upcoming RS660 sportsbike and it could very easily be confused with an advert for expensive perfume.
As has become the norm in this kind of video, we don't see very much of the actual motorbike, Aprilia opting instead for dramatic images of a shirtless Andrea Iannone, a stormy sky and a big cat.
We do get our first opportunity to hear the new 660cc 'half-a-V4' engine running and it uses a smooth firing interval for its parallel-twin cylinders.
The video follows a silhouette image of the bike released by the Italian firm earlier this week, which announced that the bike will be revealed at Eicma in November.
First shown at last year’s Milan show as a concept and powered by a parallel-twin engine, this latest image appears to reveal at least some of the finished production machine, complete with RSV4-inspired styling, LED headlights and a single seat unit.
Although details are scarce, by tweaking the image's exposure, it is also possible to see the bike’s jagged swingarm, and racey set-back footpegs, suggesting the new machine will be more of a focussed sportsbike than mini-twin commuter.
This is further compounded by the clip-on handlebars, which appear to be swept downwards like a traditional sportsbike, rather than upright like other machines in the class including Kawasaki’s recently-revised Ninja 650.
Also visible is a set of upside down forks, alongside what appears to be a set of radially-mounted brake calipers.
What's more, it's possible the parallel-twin platform could span an entire new range of middleweight Aprilia's, with the teaser caption reading: 'RS 660: a new era begins.'
MCN will bring you more information on the new machine as it becomes available.
Aprilia RS660 patent images reveal supersport stunner
First published: 10.06.2019
Styling patents have emerged that show Aprilia's finished RS660 for the first time. Initially unveiled as a concept at Eicma last year, the finished bike is a very faithful version of the radical machine we saw last time.
Powered by a 660cc parallel twin, that’s effectively the front bank of cylinders off the V4 powerhouse in the RSV4 1100 Factory, Aprilia are hoping this machine can help revitalise supersports bikes for a new generation of riders.
Aprilia claim they opted for a twin layout for its efficiency and compact nature, alongside the freedom that it left the designers to create a lightweight frame that uses the engine as a stressed member. The clever rear shock has remained, which is mounted between the swingarm and frame without a linkage to help shed a few extras pounds.
Despite its sporting credentials, the Italian firm also claim that the RS660 gives a comfortable riding experience, thanks to a large seat and sensibly-placed foot pegs, as well as handlebars placed above the top yoke to remove excess weight from your wrists.
Although we can’t see the specs of the finished unit the parts all look like the latest crop of sports bikes, so it ought to be a fine machine albeit perhaps with a hefty pricetag. With only the Kawasaki Ninja 650 as an obvious competitor, it could do rather well. We’re expecting Aprilia to unveil the finished bike at the EICMA show in November.
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